530 East 76th Street (Promenade)
Three-bed, 4.5-bath, 3,000-square-foot postwar condo.
Asking: $1.695 million. Selling: $1.525 million.
Charges: $2,627. Taxes: $1,200.
Time on the market: two months.
MY SO-CALLED PENTHOUSE PUTS ME IN CONTEXT “People hear that you spent a million and a half dollars on an apartment, and they think you must be living in a palace,” said the disillusioned Wall Streeter, just out of his 20′s, who recently bought this condo. “They call this a penthouse, but the penthouse is really a pool … I mean, it’s big, but it’s far from what you envision.” For the past three years, as this prince of trades has ridden the stock market higher and higher, he’s gotten pummeled in the real estate market-a frustrating, not to mention humiliating, experience for a guy who puts together exponentially profitable deals for a living. It’s not like, you know, he didn’t have the goods. “I figured I’d spend $600,000 in the city and get a nice apartment.” No dice: When he could spare some time to find an apartment, every deal fell through. Things got so bad he had to rent a studio in Battery Park City. Once there, he hid out in shame: “No one came up except for people who were very close to me. I made sure of that,” he said. “It was so out of context.” That was in ’95. He’s been banging his head against his studio wall ever since. “One apartment I looked at was owned by the Häagen-Dazs family … I put a bid in, and the broker told me they were going to hold onto the apartment through the summer, but that right after the summer, they were going to put it back on. I really wanted that apartment. I kept telling the broker, ‘Go to them, I’ll pay whatever they want.’ The broker kept telling me, ‘You can’t push them like that.’ I said, ‘Listen, I’m a stockbroker. Don’t tell me you can’t push them like this. Everyone’s got a price.’” But by the end of the summer, the Wall Streeter said, “I found out that the seller went behind the broker’s back and sold the apartment himself.” Finally, he zeroed in on the Promenade and looked at six apartments, including Rodney Dangerfield’s. The one he finally landed had been rented to a family for the past six years. He may have his own piece of the city now, but he’s so wound up, he’s like a bull in a china shop. “Walls are going to come down. I have so much pent-up-can you imagine? I put myself in a studio! -I have so much pent-up energy and anger or what have you. I want to do a theater, Surround-sound.… I’m into electronics, so we’ll do some neat tricks …” Then, a party. But he can rein it in: “The top three floors are ‘penthouses.’ It’s all marketing … if I was out on [Long] Island, I’d probably still [only] spend $600,000 or $700,000.” Broker: William B. May Company (Eric Ozada).
TINA BROWN AND HARRY EVANS TROT OUT TO BEDFORD
Tina Brown and Harold Evans are loading up the U-Haul again. Fresh from renovating their new, $3.7 million maisonette with a garden on East 57th Street, the New Yorker editor and her husband, the ex-employee of S.I. Newhouse Jr., are now selling their summer home of 15-plus years in Quogue, L.I., and buying a place in the Lyme-disease-infested country precincts of Bedford, in Westchester County.
Heads up, editors in chief: The five-bedroom oceanfront house with two libraries (his and hers?)-which they’ve occupied since Ms. Brown was puffing up Vanity Fair and Mr. Evans was working for Mortimer Zuckerman as editorial chum at U.S. News & World Report the first time around-is on the market for $2.7 million. The ad reads: “To know me is to love me. I am nestled in the dunes, fanned by balmy breezes … I have a most delightful free-form gunite pool.”
For the ultimate imported power couple, it’s onward to Bedford. The New York Times declared the horse-friendly town “the new anti-Hamptons” almost nine months ago, which could mean that Ms. Brown’s trend cilia are thickening with age. Or not. An accounting of the new neighbors reads like a story memo (“re: upcoming celebrity froth”) from her days at Vanity Fair : Richard Gere, Ralph Lauren, Christopher Reeve, Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins, Michael Crichton, Paul Shaffer, record producer Clive Davis, I.M. Pei, Chevy Chase and Eartha Kitt all get bitten by local mosquitoes. Even Glenn Close reportedly lives in an old beige house and shows up at school board meetings in sweats, which is charming. (But, remember, she doesn’t have a weekly magazine to run.)
Like most of the flush newer residents, Ms. Brown’s and Mr. Evans’ ambitions are more modest. Sources say that Tina and Harry are not picking up and leaving the East End to be in the country-livin’ equivalent of the club Pravda; it’s supposed to be to better the education of their two kids. Maurie Perl, the spokesman for The New Yorker , didn’t return calls.
11 East 71st Street
Five-story, 10,000-square-foot prewar town house.
Asking: $8.4 million. Selling: $7.56 million.
Time on the market: three weeks.
THURSDAY’S POKER NIGHT. ON FRIDAYS, THE STONES SHOW UP The building is a gutted limestone shell and has been one for years. But forget that for now. Outside, it’s a 30-foot-wide, 1892 house that was designed by Carrère & Hastings, the marble-happy architects of the New York Public Library and the Frick Collection down the block. According to the A.I.A. Guide to New York City, No. 11 was built originally for one Richard M. Hoe, a printing press and sawing magnate with a factory down on Grand Street. It was later used as a crash pad for members of the Rolling Stones. In 1981, 15 cops from the “morals squad” raided what was reportedly a “posh gambling den on the second floor” of the house. Later that decade, Limited chairman Leslie Wexner, left, bought the home for $5 million in addition to No. 9 next door, the former Birch Wathen School, for $13.2 million. On the last day of 1992, the hollowed-out No. 11 was transferred to Mr. Wexner’s financial adviser, Jeffrey Epstein, who never moved in. Instead, Mr. Epstein moved into No. 9, telling The Observer in 1995, “I was going to move into 11 East 71st, but I decided not to. I didn’t have the patience to finish construction.” According to real estate records, No. 11′s husk was sold to a New Haven-based trust in 1996 for $6.2 million (Mr. Wexner, meanwhile, went co-op hunting and was recently accepted by the board at 834 Fifth Avenue. He’s said to have paid about $9.5 million for the 16-room, 7,000-square-foot apartment on the fifth and sixth floors.) Broker Leslie Garfield wouldn’t comment on the buyer or seller of No. 11, but said that the price had started at $9.5 million seven months ago. But don’t get the idea that he wasn’t satisfied with the way it turned out. “I think this augurs well for the market,” he said. The exterior is landmarked, and the well-heeled mystery buyer will live on the same block as national comedy monument Bill Cosby. Broker: Leslie J. Garfield & Company.